After a Knicks playoff game years ago, I was talking on the phone with Tom Thibodeau who was then an assistant with the Knicks. I said to him, Chris Dudley (who we both coached against when we were at Harvard and Dudley was an All-Ivy center at Yale) who is among the all-time worst FT shooter in NBA history, looks like he is on the deck of a ship lost at sea in rough waters, his balance iss so incredibly bad when he shoots a free throw. (How bad was he? Read this account of one trip to the line.) I said to Thibs: “Can’t someone just get him to stand still? To get his feet under him and leave them there? Does he have vertigo? I get dizzy watching him. It would have to be worth 10-20% at least”. Thibodeau said, “he’s got his own guy [meaning his own private shooting coach] and he won’t listen to anyone”. That coach was stealing money.
I neither love nor hate Rajon Rondo and his game. His court vision when he has the ball and his sense of anticipation and timing on defense are second to none. And that’s in a league of the world’s best athletes. But, man, is he a lousy shooter. All that stuff about him working with Mark Price a few summers ago – changing his shooting form and gaining confidence – is all just a bunch of junk. Price knows what he’s doing, but Rondo ain’t listening. Last night against the Phoenix Suns, Rondo (Rondo!) got fouled shooting a 3 pointer with 2.2 secs left, Celtics down 4. (Very stupid foul). The scenario is clear: make the first 2, miss the next, get the rebound and either score to tie or hit a 3 pointer to win. Except Rondo misses the first. Badly. Then Rondo misses the 2nd. Badly. Then Rondo misses the 3rd on purpose. The funny and sad and where-is-Mark-Price-now thing is the 3rd shot, the intentional miss, came closest to going in.
Rondo needs to change his release point, at least on his free throw. Get it up and out and away from his head and shoulder. Short stroke. Super short stroke to eliminate motion. Mimic Avery Bradley’s release point.
Hey, Rajon. I’m available.